I was struck by this verse recently. Look how the wise men react to seeing the star that would lead them to the manger. “When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (Matt 2:10). This is joy taken to the next level. This is rejoicing pushed to its limit. These guys were out of their minds happy. I really would have loved to watch them at this moment. I wonder how they expressed this explosive joy. Did they laugh? Did they cry? Did they shout? Did they leap? Did they take off sprinting toward the star? Did they jump onto their camels and compel them forward as fast as possible? What was their conversation as they made the last leg of their journey?
Beyond these questions is a larger, more important one. What provoked such an eruption of joy? What led them to such exuberance and celebration? What might lead us down the same path? The answer is so expected and yet so mind boggling. Their excessive joy came from the reality of the incarnation. The King they so longed for had come and was reigning in the manger. God had become what he had never been before, a man. As the God-man he was Immanuel. At his coming hope was rendered unnecessary as it gave way to reality. This promised King was the ground of their overwhelming joy. This King in a humble manger destined for a wretched cross—this is the source of explosive joy. As we pursue God in the crib and on the cross liberating joy is certain to follow.